FREE ROTATION

“I have my own little way of saving $35 after tax every two or three months,” writes Dave Pouso. “Please note that my friends think that I have sunk to an all-time low in cheapness (I call it being able to retire at 45 and being able to afford traveling more than they). Well here it is, as trivial an amount as it may be. Most car manuals suggest that you rotate your tires every three months. This can run between $20-$40. However, Sears (you can see why my friends cringe — if it were Banana Republic or Arocrombie & Fitch they would be all over it) does it for free! Even if you did not buy your tires there. They don’t even try to sell you anything!”

Thanks, Dave. You actually rotate your tires? Does this mean you also turn over your mattress (and rotate the corners ninety degrees) every season? That you change the filter in your air conditioner? I am impressed. Yes, I clean the filter of my dryer after each load, but that’s free and easy and oddly satisfying. The fluff is clean and warm and soft. And removing it keeps the dryer from catching on fire.

OBVIOUSLY, SOME PEOPLE CAN BEAT THE MARKET

“If the stock market is as efficient as you say it is,” asks Bob Iserman, “how can investors such as Warren Buffett and, in the past, John Templeton consistently beat it? Is doing your homework and investing in stocks intelligently really such a hopeless pursuit?”

The $64,000 question. And the answer is: for most people, yes, it’s hopeless if the standard is beating the market — and by enough to justify the time and effort spent to do it. Buffett and Templeton (and Peter Lynch) are so interesting because they are so rare. There may also be some elements of self-fulfillment in this, but there’s no question in my mind that the success of those three, especially Buffett and Lynch, is more than just luck. Remember, I’m a random walker “with a crutch.” I.e., there’s some room to beat the market significantly over the long-term. But very few do or will.

YOU’VE GOT NO MAIL

You send me e-mail. When I can, I click REPLY. But then sometimes the replies bounce right back as “undeliverable.” (Why is that?) And then I try again, this time cutting and pasting your e-mail address – and still it comes back. So you never even know I tried. Frustrating! Anyhow, to those of you I’ve tried but failed to answer, like Burr (Hey, Burr! Your e-mail isn’t working!), let this reply apply to all: “Thanks, Burr. What a great message! I appreciate your taking the time to write.”

I do.

Burr – are you there?

 

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